Sunday 20 December 2015

Time for Jelavic to Shine

Despite being the busiest club on the final day of the transfer window, and in the process amassing possibly our strongest ever squad, West ham find themselves short up top with Sakho, Moses, Payet, Lanzini and Carroll all on the treatment table at present.

All of which presents a rare opportunity for Nikica Jelavic to start today as the Hammers head to Swansea looking to break a six game sequence without a win. However, Jelavic has yet to find the net for his current club after eight appearances as a substitute.

At one level, Jelavic's arrival made good sense - revisiting his very useful partnership with Slaven Bilic, where Jelavic was a formidable forward for the Croatian national side. However, Bilic's tactics at West ham have thrived upon solid defense with pacey counterattacking - a system that Jelavic is not innately suited to.

A physical presence who is strong in the air, Jelavic is relatively lacking in pace and not by any means a poacher. His most prolific period was during a two year stint at Rangers where he averaged a goal every 1.5 games, provoking a battle between West Ham and Everton for his services which the Toffees won. However, his subsequent record in English football is much less impressive with 29 goals in 113 games - i.e. one in four.

With Zarate and Antonio providing the principal support up front today, West ham need to get their full backs further forward if they are to provide Jelavic with the type of service that he is likely to thrive on. With that in mind, the failing form of Carl Jenkinson is disappointing as the Tomkins 'experiment' is destined to end in failure - both in terms of his lack of attacking prowess down the wings as well as his (relative) lack of pace in defence. Tomkins is an excellent centre back and should play there.

With West Ham so blunt up front, we can expect Swansea to push forward in search of a rare goal as a single strike could well settle this one.With just 15 goals so far this season, the Swans are the third least prolific side in the league - thus matching their third from bottom status. Meanwhile, there is no getting away from the fact that our form of late is relegation standard.

The draw at 23/10 looks attractive!



  1. He's past it. Elliot Lee wuddve been a better option but he's at Blackpool.

  2. Yep, i agree. Lee has pace and is a poacher. In that way he's a more natural fit for the Bilic system. we are too reliant on Zarate's occasional moments of brilliance.


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